'Child of Light' Follows A Bright Path

May 2, 2014

When Rayman Origins was in development back in 2010, it was announced that Ubisoft was in the process of creating an in-house game engine, UbiArt Framework, for the creation of uniquely artistic, 2D games by the company. This new engine seemed to be a pretty big deal, allowing Ubisoft's development teams a tool that could quickly create beautiful game worlds. A few years later Rayman Legends was released, following in the footsteps of its predecessor, using the same engine, and it looked and played great. However, it seemed that the developer's use of the UbiArt Framework wasn't such a big deal. Now, almost a year later, and gamers are finally getting another UbiArt title as Child of Light finally lands in a handful of digital marketplaces. The game bucks a lot of gaming conventions from art style to gameplay, and instead brings something fresh and sweet to the table. Gamers that are tired of the same old thing should really take notice of Child of Light.

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft

Child of Light isn't the typical type of game to come out of Ubisoft Montreal. With huge franchises like Splinter Cell, Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, and Prince of Persia under their belts, Child of Light is clearly the outlier. However, this release demonstrates that when a talented team is assembled, they can construct an enjoyable game, whether it's big or small. This studio's pedigree is complemented by long arms of Ubisoft who have helped Child of Light reach as many platforms as it possibly could. Hopefully this release will set a new standard, and encourage more large-scale studios to push their creative resources to try something new.

The sad story behind Child of Light involves a young princess, Aurora, whose mother is gone, and is raised by her father. Soon after her father remarries, Aurora dies in her sleep, and wakes up in the mystical world of Lemuria. She soon learns that this place that she finds herself in was taken over by the Black Queen, and only Aurora can recapture the three sources of light, and bring peace to Lemuria once again.

The UbiArt Framework allowed Ubisoft Montreal to create a wonderful looking 2D experience that blends platforming with turn-based combat. As Aurora explores Lemuria she encounters a host of the Black Queen' evil minions, and upon initiated battle with them, her melee and magic skills are put to the test. Each combatant is given a chance to strike, but the progression of the battle is displayed on a timeline that the player can influence. It's a really interesting take on an age-old mechanic that adds a new layer to battle. Additionally, the game works in other RPG elements that allow Aurora to upgrade her skills, and build out a party with some of the interesting characters that she meets along the way. There's enough classic features in the game to make it feel comfortable for any seasoned gamer, but also enough new stuff to make it feel fresh at the same time. It's a pleasant mix of old and new, and a welcome change from a lot of the standard gaming tropes.

If you have a console, you can probably play Child of Light right now. Ubisoft's latest, artsy game is available for download on the PlayStation 3 and 4, the Xbox 360 and One, the Wii U, and on PCs. In short, there's really no excuse for you not to download this game right now.

It's not every day that a game like Child of Light gets released. Games with a unique art style, turn-based combat, and a young, female protagonist don't often hit the market bearing a name like "Ubisoft" in the opening credits. Nevertheless, Child of Light exists, and it indicates that even some of the most powerful corners of the gaming industry are finally recognizing consoles' digital platforms as viable testing grounds for new ideas. Child of Light is also indicative that the major publishers are taking notice of the lively development in the indie scene, and, just maybe, might be a little threatened by it. Either way, it's the gamers that benefit, especially if Child of Light becomes just the first of many refreshing games to come out of seasoned teams from within the industry. With this release, Aurora's journey is both entertaining and engaging - something players would ideally like to see out of all games - making it easy for players to form a connection with her and her party as they grow and explore this new world on their search for the Black Queen.